Having an apartment roommate does help with the expenses, but it can lead to discord if you do not agree. Setting up the ground rules ahead of time will help lessen future problems, because it will give structure to your relationship. This structure will help each of you to live together in peace. Here are some topics to determine before you decide about a roommate.
1. Dividing Kitchen Duties
The kitchen is one of the busiest places in a home. If you will be eating your meals together or separate will also determine how you plan to set up this space. You need to decide if you will mix your belongings, or use separate cabinets. Will you assign shelves in the refrigerator, or just divide it in half? Will you cook every other night, assign particular nights for each of you to cook, or just cook for yourself? All of the questions need to be worked out beforehand to keep the kitchen from becoming a battleground.
2. Assigning House Cleaning Chores
Each of you can be responsible for your own room, but the question comes down to the shared spaces. You could have a general rule to pick up as you go, but there is still the deep cleaning that needs to be done regularly. Who will be responsible for cleaning the bathroom, the living room and the kitchen? Will you rotate each week? Will you split the responsibilities or will one roommate do the cleaning for a cut in rent? You could hire out the deep cleaning and split the costs. Whatever you decide do it upfront to avoid arguments later.
3. Determine Visitor Boundaries
Having visitors over is another issue that needs to be determined in detail before anyone moves in together. Having a general guideline will help you with your hospitality. Determine how many guests, and what times guests can be over. Also determine if overnight guests will be allowed. Be willing to talk to each other as different situations arise. Having open communication is key for you to get along.
4. Determine Noise Level Boundaries
There needs to be a time frame that the noise level is reduced for sleeping, working, and studying. Determine what times are needed for everyone to keep the noise level down. Keep the atmosphere between you and your roommate open so that you can discuss problems as they arise instead of building up resentment.
5. Division of Payment Agreements and Consequences
The division of payments and the application of consistency is a huge factor to making a roommate work. You need someone dependable and willing to be honest with you. Setting up deposits will help protect yourself from being left holding the bills. Talk about the consequences to not paying on time, and not paying at all. Don’t put yourself in a bind if the roommate fails to keep their portion of the agreement.
6. Choose Carefully and Forgive Regularly
Carefully choosing the right roommate will make all the difference in your experience. We all want to depend on others to do what they say, but we all want mercy when it comes to our own failures. Be willing to forgive each other when things don’t go according to plans. This will build a lasting friendship and a good working roommate partnership.
Roommates can be a huge blessing or a huge nightmare. Be careful in choosing one. Talk ahead of time before any commitments are made. With careful planning and open communication you can a great relationship with your roommate.